It is sad that so many lost large sums of money in the market the last couple of years, because it was so unnecessary. All it takes to keep your head above water is to take what is said on CNBC with a grain of salt and never, ever listen to major brokerage analysts. You must do your own thinking and maintain a diversified portfolio including small, mid-cap, large cap domestic and foreign stocks. Diversify amongst sectors. Never base your decisions on what a stock broker (saleman) tells you. Never, ever place large bets on the hottest sector. You are just asking for trouble.
It's unfortunate that many investors will swear off the market for the rest of their lives because they listened to Wall Street hype. It really borders on a criminal act what the major brokerages have been a party to, because they have relegated a large portion of the public to be relatively poor for the rest of their lives.